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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
A Flame in the Night by Holland C. Kirbo is the first book in The Legends of Aewyr series. What should be the happiest day for Lakyn's family quickly takes a turn when she sees a startling vision of her loved ones in fire. When her disturbing vision comes true, Lakyn destroys a zuhl to save her family, which is a feat that should be impossible, and somehow she survives. She captures the attention of the immortals of Perravia who believe her to be their savior, the only one with the ability to stop the god Maal and his evil army of zuhl and malum. She finds herself drawn to her trainer, the immortal Reuel, who seems to reciprocate her growing feelings when he's not busy hating her. She struggles to gain control over her confusing abilities, but time to save them is running out. Can she truly save them all if she can't even understand herself?
Lakyn is a strong-willed character who quickly captures readers' attention with a strength about her that's refreshing. She easily admits her faults and her shortcomings, and is never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for herself, even when it's against a bunch of immortals. Compassion and loyalty are her strongest factors, driving her abilities and her heart. Her powers send her on a new path when she defends her sister and new nephew by instantly making her a hero long before her training begins. In a poignant moment she makes a promise to a dying mother cat to care for her young cub. This is one of her strongest moments, because she fights to save his life, even though he's a ferocious feline predator the immortals want to kill because he'll one day grow up to be vicious. The little cub is the first most obvious instance that not everything is as it seems, as it's just a helpless and innocent kitten going against the stereotypes they expect him to be. He also provides some levity as he often gets into things with a personality known to cats and is even given a simple name, which makes him stand out against the other more unique names of the characters.
Lakyn handles a lot of conflict primarily with the immortals, but nothing is more complicated than her relationship with Reuel. They have a great deal of chemistry and the passion between them heats up more with each scene they share, balanced out by Reuel's hot and cold act with her, jumping from being suspicious to protecting her. Holland C. Kirbo weaves together multiple perspectives with complicated motives, a rich history, and plenty of family friction. A Flame in the Night is a dazzling adventure mixed with a hero's journey and the beginning of a romance that can't be missed.